Greenhouse Party

Come in, come in… let me take your coat. It gets hot in here.

So, let me introduce everyone. The small, spindly one draped all over the place is Latah, and no amount of training or coaxing makes any difference. Just there is Ethel Watkins, been around here since… No, no, the shocking pink is Grushkova, a recent arrival here, and…

Look, I know the pink is startling, but if you’re going to make unkind comments about skin colour then you can take your coat and go. Grushkova is a perfectly decent early tomato and…

No, it’s not Russian. OK, sort of Russian. From Siberia. And Latah is from Idaho and…

Sorry? Proper English tomato? You do know that tomatoes were introduced here from South America in the sixteenth century, right? There’s no native tomatoes. I mean, seriously, the nearest relative is belladonna, and you don’t want that in your salad.

And yes, those are cucumbers. What is it with you and colour? Yes they are white instead of green, but they are very nice cucumbers and… yes, they are small, and they’re called miniature white, so you’ve got it all there in the name, small and white. Not big and long and green. Go on, taste one… see? It’s a very nice cucumber.

Sorry? Proper English cucumber? I know you’re think cucumber sandwiches, all part of the essence of the traditional English summer but seriously, you know that cucumbers were originally introduced from India, right? First recorded cultivation here in the fourteenth century, so they’ve been around longer than tomatoes. And there, behind you, the melons… originally from Africa and southwest Asia, brought to Europe by the Romans and…

Right. Yes. Got that. You prefer boring commercial green cucumbers. Here. Try one of these…

No, it’s not English either. It’s called Achocha, from South American, part of the cucumber family… yes, I’m pretty sure it is supposed to be green.

Right. The door’s there. Go out into the orchard. Pick yourself an apple. Proper English varieties out there. Proper Cornish varieties. Normal colours, normal shapes, nothing funny or foreign.

Originally from Asia, of course.

This was prompted by the #BlogBattle prompt of Exotic, and the strange things we grow in our greenhouse.

Image from Pixabay.

4 thoughts on “Greenhouse Party”

  1. Ah, the joys of gardening! As usual I enjoyed the humor in this piece, but the explanations about the different varieties also hit home. While my beans and tomatoes were developed by the Cherokee tribe, I also love my cucumbers from Israel and carrots from Japan. Maybe the guest needs to be consoled that although it appears UK doesn’t have much to offer in native species, they have been exceptionally good in developing strains and breeds (I’m thinking in particular of livestock)…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I must admit I was quite surprised when I did a bit of googling – I knew that tomatoes and their relative the potato had been brought here from the Americas around the 15/16th century, but had vaguely assumed that cucumber was native. Once I went digging, most of our staple and “traditional” crops originated elsewhere. Most of the fruits, cereals and root/tubers seem to trace back to what is now the middle-east and the surroundings.
    As for livestock, we do have our chickens, which probably originate in Asia, and our sheep, which come from Soay off the west coast of Scotland and were probably seeded there by the Vikings…
    OK, best we stick to the breeding programs. 🙂

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  3. This so reminded me of Eddie Izzards series on British culture. We took ships full of sweat and assorted ailments and the Asian continent gave us soap and perfume. That’s before we get to fish and chips and the Odeon cinema. Not to mention general gardening which comprise overseas species that many of our insects look at wondering WTH is that? Not that all our fauna is now actually out fauna. Globalisation for you. Still, one must embrace such things. Inward looking gets us…oh wait, Brexit or Trump… I digress, excellent piece Mark, long may they continue.

    Liked by 1 person

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